New England D3 Football Notebook: Framingham State Begins New Era

Framingham State Football head coach Tom Kelley says the Rams have started a new era. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/
Framingham State Football head coach Tom Kelley says the Rams have started a new era. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/

By Matt Noonan 

“It’s a new era,” Framingham State football head coach Tom Kelley said. “We just can’t roll out the footballs anymore.”

Kelley – the successful sideline boss of a Framingham State football program, which has won three straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) titles – knows the road to a fourth consecutive crown won’t be easy.

Unlike past seasons where the Rams have entered a new campaign with some household names like Matt Silva, Matt Mangano, Nick Stanfield, Kevin Donahue, Pat McGrath and Melikke Van Alstyne, Framingham State’s current roster features a plethora of young players.

“They’re working hard,” Kelley said of his first and second-year players. “They are not cutting corners, but it certainly is going to be an interesting year.”

Framingham State graduated 22 players from last season’s squad, including Silva, Mangano and Stanfield, but Kelley is confident his returners will fill the void.

“Out of the 22 guys (that graduated this past spring), we like the guys behind them,” said Kelley, “and now it’s their turn to step-up.”

Some of the returners Kelley and his coaching staff will ask to ‘step-up’ are seniors Chris Dagg (linebacker/safety), Jalen Wingard (defensive back), and juniors Jalen Green (halfback), Svenn Jacobson (linebacker) and Joe Wilder (offensive line).

Framingham State will conclude its training camp this weekend with a scrimmage before turning the page to their initial game of the season against Endicott College at home on Saturday, September 3.

Following a visit from the Gulls, Framingham State hits the road two important games, including a visit to Cortland State – both teams played last season and combined for 110 points and 1,071 yards of total offense.

The Rams’ final game of the month is against Western Connecticut State at home (Homecoming & Family Weekend) – the Colonials were picked third in the conference’s preseason poll.

“Our first four games will be tough,” said Kelley.

Rams occupy top spot in MASCAC preseason poll: Framingham State collected eight of nine first-place votes in the MASCAC preseason poll, which was released on Wednesday.

Bridgewater State collected the final first-place vote, checking in fourth overall.

Behind the Rams is Fitchburg State and Western Connecticut State, while Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Worcester State tied for fifth. UMass Dartmouth, Westfield State and Plymouth State rounded out the final three spots, checking in seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.

Eight of the nine teams are in action next Friday or Saturday, while Massachusetts Maritime Academy kicks-off its 2016 campaign on Friday, September 9 when they visit Maritime (N.Y.) for the Ninth-Annual Chowder Bowl.

New England D3 Football: Noontime Sports Preseason Team



For the first-time in Noontime Sports (and history, we are pleased to unveil our first-ever preseason Noontime Sports Team for New England Division III Football.

Quarterbacks: Brandon Basil (Salve Regina)| Cory Burnham (UMass Dartmouth) | Garrett Dellechiaie (Fitchburg State) | Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (Becker) | Derek Victory (Coast Guard Bears)

Backfield: Chance Brady (Tufts) | Nick Connell (Western New England) | Moe Harris (Castleton) | Michael Nicol (West Conn.) | Adis Ojeda (MIT) | Kenny Pierce (Mass. Maritime Academy)

Receiving Core:  Abbi Bamgbose (UMass Dartmouth) | Travis Bassett (Bridgewater State) | Pierre Noel (Norwich) | Jake Pelletier (Endicott) | Soren Pelz-Walsh (Castleton) | Devin Summiel (Fitchburg State) | Nick Vailas (Bowdoin) | Bryan Vieira (Trinity) | Derrick Warren (Nichols) | Deon Wiggins (Husson)

Offensive Line (as a unit): Mass. Maritime Academy | Middlebury College | Springfield College | Western New England | Worcester State

Defensive Line: Craig Anderson (Endicott) | Bryan Ballenilla (West Conn.) | Christopher Ford (Maine Maritime Academy) | Raoul Khouri (MIT) | Campbell Marchant (Framingham State) | Emmanuel Omere (Bridgewater State) | Dereck Pacheco (WPI) | Luke Washburn (Husson)

Linebackers: Darren Callan (Castleton) | Sean Chinova (Mount Ida) | Svenn Jacobson (Framingham State) | Marshall McCarthy (Mass. Maritime Academy) | Brian Murtagh (WPI) | John Ollari (Westfield State) | Mamour Samb (Fitchburg State) | Zach Thomas (Tufts)

Secondary: Obi Etuka (Western New England) | Tyler Higley (Castleton) | Kevin Hopsicker (Middlebury) | Paul McCarthy (Trinity) | Paul Sances (Mass. Maritime Academy) | Tim Preston (Tufts) | Brandon Williams (Bates)

Kickers & Punters: Willie Holmquist (Tufts) | Stefano Marziale (Anna Maria) | Wesley Medeiros (Norwich) | Charlie Wall (Amherst) | Bobby Webster (Williams)

New England D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch In Week One

Another season of New England D3 Football is right around the corner. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/


It’s never too early to start marking the calendar with Division III football games, especially with the opening kickoff just two weeks away.

In anticipation of the first kickoff of the 2016 season, which happens to be two weeks from today – Anna Maria vs. Coast Guard Academy – we have provided a list (and some quick thoughts) on what games you should keep an eye on (or attend) in week one.

Thursday, Sept. 1 – Coast Guard Academy at Anna Maria, 7 p.m. – We have been counting the days and weeks for this game, so when the Bears and AMCATs take the field, it will mean a new season of college football has begun. Keep an eye on Coast Guard Academy senior co-captain and quarterback Derek Victory, who enjoyed an impressive junior season under center.

Friday, Sept. 2 – UMass Dartmouth at Mount Ida, 6 p.m. – This is always a must-see game, according to Mount Ida head coach Michael Landers. Keep an eye on Mount Ida sophomore quarterback Jack Sheehan, who enjoyed an impressive first season, while also watching UMass Dartmouth junior linebacker Brandon Miller. Miller should be a focal point of the Corsairs’ defense this season.

Friday, Sept. 2 – Western New England at Springfield College, 7 p.m. – This has become a true rivalry game – basically, the winner becomes the so-called king of Springfield. The Golden Bears were picked to capture the New England Football Conference (NEFC) crown, but will be tested by a new-look Pride squad, which will be led by first-year head coach Mike Cerasuolo.

Friday, Sept. 2 – WPI at MIT, 7 p.m. – Both schools are rivals in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), so this game will certainly live up to its hype. WPI escaped last year’s meeting thanks to a fourth quarter field goal by senior Blaine Bursey.

Friday, Sept. 2 – Bridgewater State at Curry, 7 p.m. – A new era has begun in Bridgewater as long-time assistant and defensive coordinator Joe Verria will lead the Bears as the program’s interim head coach. The Bears beat Curry last year in their season opener, but the Colonels rebounded, capping their 2015 campaign by winning three of five contests.

Friday, Sept. 2 – Fitchburg State at Becker, 7 p.m. – After an impressive 7-3 campaign, the Hawks of Becker will look to prove 2015 wasn’t a fluke. First-year head coach Frank Forcucci, who spent the previous three seasons as the program’s Associate Head Coach and defensive coordinator, will lead Becker this fall. Fitchburg State – on the other hand – has high aspirations for this season and will be led by senior quarterback Garrett Dellechiaie, who tossed 26 touchdowns for the second-straight season.

 Friday, Sept. 2 – Salve Regina at Worcester St., 7 p.m. – The Seahawks of Salve Regina were picked to finish second the New England Football Conference (NEFC). They also appeared in our Noontime Sports Top 10 Preseason poll, too. Worcester State is one of our ‘Teams on the Rise,’ and this has always been an intriguing matchup, especially when each offense gets into a groove.

 Saturday, Sept. 3 – Endicott at Framingham State, 12 p.m. – Under second year head coach Kevin DeWall, the Gulls of Endicott will look to commence their season with an opening day road win against a Framingham State squad that will feature some new names on both sides of the ball. The Rams won last season’s opener in Beverly, defeating Endicott, 42-6. Endicott’s last win in Framingham came in 2012 with the Gulls claiming a 34-7 victory.

 Saturday, Sept. 3 – Plymouth State at Castleton, 1 p.m. – Castleton sophomore Mitchell Caron is expected to be spotted under center in the Spartans’ season opener. Quarterback George Busharis graduated this past spring, so it will be fun to watch Caron lead the Spartans. As for Plymouth State, they enter 2016 a year older and with more experience.

Saturday, Sept. 3 – Hartwick at West Conn., 5 p.m. – Senior halfback Michael Nicol will be expected to carry the load this year, and help Western Connecticut State kick-off its season with a win against a talented Hartwick squad. Nicol will be one of many players to watch on Joe Loth’s squad, especially if they want to make a run toward winning the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown.

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode Four (Trevor Paul | The Legacy Chronicle: The Sword)

Noontime Sports Podcast


For the fourth episode of Noontime Sports the PodcastMatt Noonan caught up with a former Noontime Sports blogger – yes, he did contribute back in the day! – Trevor Paul (T.H. Paul) to chat about his new book: The Legacy Chronicle: The Sword 

In addition to learning more about the book and Paul’s writing process, Noonan and Paul also talked some sports – yes, we had to throw some sports talk in, right? – discussing what it is like to coach prep school athletics, as well as Maine hockey (and some NESCAC hockey, too).

New England D3 Football: ECFC Begins New Era Under Commissioner Boldvich

The Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) unveiled its new logo on Monday.
The Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) unveiled its new logo on Monday.

By Matt Noonan 

First-year Commissioner Katie Boldvich has a plan to strengthen the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) – an eight-team Division III football league that is made-up of schools in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Washington D.C.

Her goal: create a true conference that works together, while sharing a similar philosophy.

“(We do) not want to be just a group of schools that have to play each other every year,” said Boldvich. “The (ECFC) is looking to grow, re-brand itself and really come together as a true conference.”

The conference began this plan – well, technically the first-step of it – on Monday by unveiling a new logo. It is quite snazzy – the colors are blue and white, it is extremely catchy (and attractive), and Boldvich believes this is a great first-step.

“The ECFC is excited for its new look and is extremely satisfied with the outcome of the design process,” Boldvich said in the conference’s release. “The new mark is a great step forward for the conference as the league moves toward building a stronger identity.”

In addition to a new logo, the ECFC has been quite active on social media, promoting all eight teams on Twitter. The handle features some great content, including photos or videos, thanks to each institution’s Twitter handle (and team handle).

Said Boldvich, “We are really trying to do as much as we can to push out content, while getting the programs and student-athletes more engaged on the social media side.”

Social media is going to be key for the conference’s success, especially throughout the remainder of preseason. Boldvich and her staff have some great plans in place for the next few days and weeks, including a countdown to kickoff, a preseason poll and interesting facts on each team.

Following the preseason hype – or buildup to week one – Boldvich plans to implement an in-season and in-game social media plan, which fans will be able to witness on Thursday, September 1 when Anna Maria College – one of the eight teams in the league – commences its season under the lights against Coast Guard Academy.

“I am going to be at a game each week,” said Boldvich, “and whatever game I am attend will get the bulk of attention on social media. I am going to Anna Maria’s kickoff, so we are going to make a big deal about it on social, and we hope to post multiple videos and photos throughout the contest.”

With an increase in social media, along with a new logo, Boldvich has already upped the ECFC’s presence, but the exciting part is there is plenty more to come. The conference has some great plans in place to increase its digital footprint, and that will definitely help Boldvich, the Athletic Directors and Coaches in accomplishing their goal of coming together as more than a three-month conference.

“Our focus (moving forward) will be to continue to work together, while sharing (and establishing) a similar philosophy, which we’re currently working on as a group,” said Boldvich. “We hope to see some great results from these discussions over the next few seasons.”

New England College Football: Harvard Is Prepared To Contend For An Ivy League Crown

Harvard Crimson Logo

By Brian Willwerth 

In about a month, the eight teams in the Ivy League will kick off the 2016 season.

The preseason media poll was released this morning, and there is a familiar name at the top: Harvard.

The Crimson top the poll for the eleventh time overall, and the sixth in the last nine years. In order to claim another league title, Harvard will have to replace what is arguably the most successful football class in Harvard football history.

“To lose that nucleus of 15 starters last year (it) is a little bit daunting and certainly unprecedented for us,” said head coach Tim Murphy during the Ivy League media conference call. “But there are a lot of guys really looking for the opportunity to replace those guys.”

The biggest question mark is at quarterback. Senior Joe Viviano and sophomore Tom Stewart are vying for the starting job. Whoever the starter is will have big shoes to fill: replacing the Ivy League offensive player of the year, Scott Hosch.

“I can’t remember coming into the season with a competition at quarterback where really neither guy has ever taken a meaningful snap in a college football game,” said Murphy.

The running back position will be a platoon situation, at least to start the season. Murphy expects junior Semar Smith, and sophomores Noah Reimers and Charlie Booker to all get some carries.

Up front, Murphy says some players to watch include lineman Larry Allen and Max Rich, H-Back Anthony Firkser, and wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley.

The leading returner on defense is Sean Ahern, a fifth-year cornerback who is also team captain. Doug Webb and Miles McCollum return to anchor on the defensive line.

Murphy expects a lot of seniors, who haven’t had much playing time, to step up.

“You’ve got to recruit character kids. And if you recruit character kids….they know what it takes. The starting point is ‘lead by example’,” he said.

Harvard begins its 2016 campaign on Friday, September 16th against Rhode Island.

The Crimson and the rest of the Ivy League teams will have to deal with some changes on kickoffs. They’ve been moved to the 40-yard line. And on touchbacks, the ball will be placed at the 20. The goal is to reduce the number of concussions and other injuries on returns.

New England D2 Lacrosse: Tim Robbins Named AIC Men’s Lacrosse Coach

Tim Robbins was named the ninth head coach of the AIC men's lacrosse program on Friday. (PHOTO CREDIT: AIC Athletics)
Tim Robbins was named the ninth head coach of the AIC men’s lacrosse program on Friday. (PHOTO CREDIT: AIC Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

It was announced on Friday that Tim Robbins would become the ninth men’s lacrosse head coach at American International College after spending the past season as the squad’s interim head coach.

The Yellow Jackets, who compete in an extremely competitive Northeast-10 Conference, capped their 2016 campaign with a ‘Senior Day’ victory over Georgian Court. Jack McIntyre paced the Black and Gold, tallying six points on four goals and two assists, while Lucas Bombardier netted a hat trick.

Bombardier concluded his initial season of collegiate lacrosse by earning a spot on the conference’s All-Rookie team.

“I am extremely elated to be given the honor of leading the Men’s Lacrosse program of American International College,” Robbins said in the athletic department’s release. “I am excited to continue to work with this tremendous group of young men, to recruit, teach, mentor and coach the young men and establish a winning culture as we strive to reach new heights in the Northeast-10 Conference.”

“Tim Robbins has done a tremendous job for us in an interim role over the past year,” Director of Athletics Matt Johnson said in the release. “He has outstanding lacrosse playing and coaching experience and his current players have been very vocal in advocating for his permanent assignment.”

Robbins joined the AIC staff as an assistant coach prior to the 2015 campaign before Johnson announced last November that he would become the program’s interim head coach.

Prior to arriving at AIC, Robbins spent time as either an assistant or head coach for numerous collegiate programs, including College of Saint Rose where he guided the Golden Eagles to a 7-6 overall record during the program’s initial season in 2012. Additionally, Robbins was instrumental in helping Siena College capture their conference crown (MAAC), while advancing to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2009.

Said Johnson, “We are excited about the future of our men’s lacrosse program.”